Saturday 18th December 2010
Three days short of the Winter Solstice, and then the days start lengthening again, hard to believe at present. We’ve just had a hefty dollop of snow overnight, it was touch and go as to whether I could make it in this morning. We had around 4 inches of snow in Bootle, and slightly less here at Muncaster. The owls, as usual appear to take it all in their stride. We have done a pen check, and cleaned down all the feed tables, as it wouldn’t do to just pile new food onto a lair of snow. The birds wouldn’t be able to see their food, and it might freeze rather too quickly.
This last week, the Owl Centre staff had a get together in the Cafe for a festive bite to eat, and to give each other gifts. A secret Santa do had been arranged... The food was sandwiches and oven chips. (Irresistible with salt and vinegar and a blob of mayonnaise).
This week also saw us make the decision to do something radically different for the coming year’s sponsored walk. The last walk we did has been the most successful ever. We raised over £2700. For more details please take a look at the fundraising page.
It would be very hard to top that by doing another peak in the Lake District. This coming year, funds need to be raised for our own native White-breasted Barn Owl. Recently, the World Owl Trust was featured on several local BBC radio stations, as well as on national radio on Radio 4. On that particular day a combined total of around 15.5 million listeners heard a report on the Barn Owl in the UK, which stated that around 70% of the wild population in the UK relies on artificial man made nest sites for roosting and breeding. This proves that nest box schemes around the country are very successful, but the alarming fact that hits you in the face is that if this is the case, we need to continue erecting new nest boxes. This will be an ongoing project which will be very costly. What money we raise in the coming year will be going towards this Barn Owl nest box project. We would like to raise £5000. This would finance the erection of 100 nest boxes nationwide. For more detail please look at the sponsored walk page.
This is a large amount, but is only a drop in the ocean compared with what is actually needed. For this reason we have thought completely out of the box for the next sponsored walk. We are not doing it in the UK but in Spain!? Why? I hear you gasp. The reason why this is feasible is because one of the World Owl Trust supporters, Brian Fagg happens to be a director of MountainWALKS in Spain. Brian and his company will be accommodating the walking team at cost. The walk is set to take place in the Alicante Mountains of southern Spain at the end of March 2011, and is called ‘From the Village of Castell de Castells to Quatretondtea the hard way’, and involves a 15.5 mile ridge walk with a combined ascent of 1520 meters and five peaks, all of them higher than anything in the British Isles. The walk is on rough exposed terrain all the way. For more details, please take a look at my article on the sponsored walk page. I have to stress that all participants will be paying their own expenses and doing the walk outside of work time.
The idea is to make it very high profile, to raise awareness for the Barn Owl in the UK. That way the publicity should promote both undertakings. I have included some scenery shots of the walk, as well as the other happenings this week.
This will be the last blog of 2010. I wish you all well for the New Year, and very festive Yuletide Greetings.
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|World Owl Trust
Registered Charity Number: 1107529
Limited Company Number: 5296745
The World Owl Trust is a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA). The Trust relies on a dedicated membership, visitors, donations and legacies.